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Peer Action Collective teams to break down barriers to positive activities to help young people away from violence

We’re the Peer Action Collective (PAC), a movement of young people across England and Wales committed to prevent youth violence. Being involved in positive activities can be an effective way to do this. We want to break down barriers to ensure that young people at risk of violence feel like they can access and benefit from positive activities.

Young people from Bradford to Birmingham will spend the next 18 months doing peer research to listen to over 1,500 young people learning how positive activities can help them move away from violence. We will use the research to create change; carrying out social action based on the findings to improve positive activities to support young people to make positive choices in their lives.

The challenge

Positive activities help children and young people improve their physical and mental health, develop positive behaviours, and build confidence. But we need to know more about the impact on young people’s involvement in crime and violence. We need to learn why positive activities might work; what it is about involvement in things like sports or arts could help to protect young people from violence.

These questions cannot be answered without asking young people, which is why our work is driven by young people affected by violence who are passionate about using their experiences to drive real-world change. As one member of our team in Bradford summarises:

“By actively involving young people in the research process, we ensure that our findings are directly relevant and tailored to their needs and aspirations. Ultimately, the provision of positive activities will divert attention away from antisocial behaviours and youth crime and violence, thereby contributing to a decrease in crime rates and the cultivation of a population with stronger values.”

What are PAC teams doing in response?

Our first projects around positive activities are kicking off this month – here is what we will be researching:

In Birmingham…

The PAC team will be looking at is interested in how we can support young people to navigate online spaces safely, in a context of easy access to violent content and negative role models. The team is particularly concerned that young people are exposed to this content constantly, without any support. They are also interested in how positive role models and organisations offering positive activities who are not using this opportunity well can be supported to use social media and other platforms more effectively.

In Bradford and Hull…

The PAC team are interested in the barriers preventing young people from feeling comfortable, safe, and confident in accessing positive activities that could protect them from violence. From barriers ranging from accessibility, cultural competence and mental health, the team will explore the range of barriers and how they can be overcome.

How can you support our work?

Our goal is to find the best ways that positive activities can support young people affected by violence. If you are interested in finding out more, or supporting our teams, please get in touch with us: You can support by:

  • Opening the doors to key decision makers in your area

  • Sharing PAC opportunities with young people you work with

  • Inviting local PAC teams to events and meetings

  • Providing space for young people to do research and social action

  • Sharing our research findings with others

  • Sharing advice, guidance or skills that can help young people achieve their mission.

We are ambitious in the change we want to see from our research and would really appreciate your support in helping us to make a difference. As one member of our team in Hull sums up:

“I hope to achieve change for young people and give others better opportunities in life. I would like to tell the world that change needs to happen for young people. People need to stop overlooking young people and take action.”  

Funded by the Youth Endowment Fund, the #iwill Fund (a joint investment between The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport) and the Co-op, the PAC is here to support young people to take the lead. 

Meet the Foundation's Head of PAC, Pavan Sembi:


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